First off, i’d like to plug Josh Hooter’s Bike Ride For the Animals. In case you hadn’t heard of it yet. He’s going to ride 600 miles, on his bike, to raise money and awareness for Farm Sanctuary. Even if you can only give ten dollars, do it. No excuses. I know the economy sucks, but pretty much everyone can spare ten dollars. And then you’ll have better karma and i’ll like you better.
This was fun to put together the first time, so I thought i’d do it again with a spin.
A lot of people think that caring about the environment means being a hippie, or a lot of work, or both. You don’t have to buy a hybrid car and install solar panels on your house to make the world a slightly better place. You don’t have to let your yellow mellow in the toilet to show you care. There are a ton of small steps you could take that are easy, and I really do believe that doing a lot of little things is the road to you know, not totally killing our earth. So let’s get started!
Reuseable bags. You would think this is a no brainer these days, because every grocery store (even Walmart! Walmart, people!) now has their own brand of reuseable bags right next to the checkout lanes. They’re usually right around a buck. Yet I go to the commissary and I see people hauling out 50 plastic bags, and the chances that they’re going to go home and recycle them are slim. Reuseable bags just aren’t better for the earth, but they’re easier to carry because their handles and bottoms don’t rip or fall out from heavy stuff. And while they’re not totally indestructible, if one does rip it was only a dollar so it’s not a big loss. I’ve only lost one bag in the past year or so that i’ve been using them.
And along the same thing, say no to bags for things you don’t need! You don’t need a bag for one drink. Or one dvd. If you can carry it in your hands, you don’t need a bag to carry something from the register to your car to your house. And while most of the grocery store bags have an insert at the bottom that makes them impossible to fold up and keep in your purse for bag emergencies, there are tons of compact bags that fold up and come with a little pouch to keep them in. I use mine for spur-of-the-moment grocery trips and Target, it’s huge and will hold 25 pounds of stuff.
Also, a lot of people forget that plastic produce and bulk bags are a problem too. Now truth be told, I forget mine most of the time so I just end up only bagging things that are wet. You don’t need a bag for one pepper that you’re probably going to wash anyway. And bananas? Do you eat the damn peel? I don’t think so. But if your memory is better than mine, I get my produce and bulk bags from here. And of course she would be out of the country for this entire month.
(P.S. If you are going to keep being a dick and using plastic bags, at least recycle them.)
Menstrual products (males may want to skip this section because i’m going to talk about my vagina). Every year. 12 billion pads. 7 billion tampons. In our trash. That is a lot of bloody trash! One could argue that tampons are okay because they’re cotton and not plastic, but tampons are bad for your health too. And your pocket book! Tampons are worse than cigarettes as far as price gouging goes. Because they know that the average american woman isn’t aware that she has more than two options as to what she puts up her duff.
The first is a reuseable cup. I use a Diva Cup, but they’re not the only brand. If your immediate reaction is ‘ew’ to the idea of emptying your blood into the toilet, I invite you to grow up. Most bathrooms come equipped with a sink and you’ll be washing your hands in a minute anyway. Also, I don’t normally get any more blood on me than I do when dealing with tampons. What I do get are less cramps and that god awful dryness near the end. The Diva Cup site says to replace it every year, but I can’t see why that’s necessary. I boil it every now and then to clean it and that’s it. So instead of spending $10-15 a month, I spent $30 on something that’s going to last me until one of the dogs uses it as a chew toy or I have a kid and have to get the bigger one.
The other option, for ladies who don’t like sticking things anywhere, are reuseable pads. It’s pretty simple, you use them and then rinse them and toss them in your hamper until laundry day. Once again, if you can’t handle your own body fluids you need to grow up. I’m pretty sure everyone who reads this wipes their own poop on the daily. Most people who make pads make them with fun fabrics, so they’re not a chore to buy. My friend Erika made the ones on the left, as you can see she sells sets that have a liner with wings, and then two pads that slip into the back of the liner if you need them. You can buy some from her here.
Also, cotton pads are obviously along the same line as cloth diapers, but since i’ve never spawned and don’t have any experience with them or where to buy them, i’ll leave that up to someone who has.
Bath products without bottles. I’ve become something of a Lush junkie (that’s our stash to the right). And since i’ve been noticing how much plastic we buy just because that’s what things come in, I decided to give their bar shampoos and conditioner a try. I bought one of the shampoos for Brian while he was in Iraq, but he never got around to using it. Now he’s in love with it. And i’m in love with my shampoo and face soap, but not the conditioner. I know it says best seller, but it’s probably because it’s the only solid conditioner they have. It might be okay if you have short hair, but I have to microwave it just a little to soften it (not for more than ten seconds or it’ll melt), then smush the soft pieces in my hands and lather them with water like crazy. It takes way too long, so I am going back to bottled conditioner when i’ve used that up. But still, i’ve traded in three products with bars so i’ll still be doing a little bit better than I was before.
Litter. No, not the thing where assholes throw their trash out the window (serious pet peeve). The kind that your cats use. Most people don’t think about litter as being something bad, but most commercial litter is made out of clay that doesn’t biodegrade. I’ve tried litter made from recycled paper, but I wasn’t thrilled with it. I settled on this wheat litter. Not only can you pitch this stuff (I use those doggie poop bags made from corn) without worry, you can compost the leftovers after it’s been scooped, if it’s time to change it out for all fresh litter. You can even flush the clumps and poop if you keep your box in the bathroom. And it smells better. I don’t mean after someone’s pooped, it still smells like poop obviously. But it doesn’t have that gross, chemical smell to it. So as long as the litter is clean, my house smells like house and not litter.
Downgrade your TP. Yep, our desire to wipe our butts with cotton clouds is the downfall of the planet. I found recycled toilet paper randomly, and while at first i was annoyed at how thin it was, I got over it pretty quick. And my husband doesn’t complain so it really can’t matter that much.
Go digital with your music purchases. This one is pretty simple. You spend less money, there’s less plastic in the world, and less junk in your house. Also, in my case, it makes me feel less bad about my giant dvd collection.
Go veg*n. Did you not think I was going to throw that in there somewhere? Please. And I don’t wanna hear about it being too hard or you love cheese too much. Right now i’m surviving without meat, eggs, dairy, gluten, or refined sugars and holy shit, i’m not dead!
If you’re going to be a dick and say “Veg*nism isn’t something you bought!” Well, I buy food and clothing all the time, and I buy vegan things, so in your FACE.
I swear, when I started this list I had no idea that most of the things on it would revolve around things that come out of our bodies.